For theatre fans, YouTube offers a great way to enjoy your favourite showtunes when you can’t get to a theatre and don’t have the cast recording on hand. There are naughtily recorded videos taken from the back of theatres, official videos, tributes, and a seemingly endless supply of amateur covers.
Lots of theatre fans ignore the amateur covers, assuming they’ll all be dreadful amdram affairs performed in town halls and school gymnasiums, and a lot of them are. However, every now and again – nestled in among all the dross – there’s a gem.
It’s time to seek out YouTube’s best amateur performances of your favourite showtunes. Let’s look at some of the best:
Ensemble – Do Re Mi (The Sound of Music)
Antwerp Central Station is probably the last place you’d expect to see an utterly heart-warming flashmob performance of The Sound of Music’s Do De Mi, but in 2009 more than 200 dancers gathered there to perform as part of a promotional stunt. It went rather well, gathering over 23 million views so far.
The really special thing about flashmobs is that they’re amateur performances that bring a smile to peoples’ faces in the most unexpected places. even Belgium. Add that combination of delight and surprise to one of musical theatre’s chirpiest songs and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a wonderful video that any showtune-lover should have already seen.
Powpacampara – Seasons of Love (Rent)
Rent is one of those musicals that really divides people: Some adore it and the rest can’t bear it. If you’re a fan then you’ll be impressed by Powpacampara’s acoustic guitar cover version, if you’re not a fan then prepared to be surprised.
The addition of a guitar and a performance style far less earnest than that you’d expect to see in a production of Rent creates a sort of easily listening version of the show’s best song. If you’ve stubbled with Rent in the past, give this cover a listen and then try again.
Lisaxy424 – My Freeze Ray (Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog)
If you’re not in the mood for a big soaring showtune and would rather have something a little bit lighter then Lisaxy434′s YouTube channel is the place to go. Her rendition of My Freeze Ray from Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog has a secret ingredient that makes even the gloomiest day seem a little bit better: the ukulele.
Dr Horrible was an online musical miniseries made by Buffy The Vampire Slayer’s Joss Whedon to give people something to watch during the writer’s strikes a few years back, so it’s only fitting that a cover of one of his songs should keep you entertained during your lunch hour. Once you’ve enjoyed Lisaxy424′s chirpy cover version, why not watch the entire show on YouTube (it’s on there) and experience a different sort of musical?
Nick Pitera – All I Ask of You (Phantom of the Opera)
Nick Pitera (username Goonieman86) is a gifted man, there’s no other way of putting it. His rendition of All I Ask Of You showcases his incredible abilities perfectly. You see, the special thing about Nick is that he can sing a beautiful duet alone: his voice has an incredible range that allows him to sing in a masculine baritone and a staggering feminine soprano, practically in the same breath.
Not only does Nick perform both parts of Phantom’s haunting duet, he sings the female portion considerably better than most of the actual ladies who attempt it. Once you stop trying to figure out how he’s cheating (he’s really not) you’ll find yourself becoming somewhat of a fan; this is the sort of video you email to all your friends. Be sure to watch his Disney medley as well, it’s something special.
For authentic live performances make london theatre bookings and enjoy watching the professionals on stages in London’s West End